OOIDA urges truckers to voice opposition to I-81 toll bill in Virginia

By Tyson Fisher, Land Line staff writer | 1/29/2019

As Virginia is considering a bill that will install a toll on Interstate 81 that primarily affects truck drivers, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is urging Virginia truckers to voice their opposition.

On Monday, Jan. 28, OOIDA sent a letter to members regarding the I-81 toll bill. In the letter, the Association is encouraging truckers to reach out to lawmakers. Truckers who live in Virginia can send a pre-generated letter in opposition of the toll by clicking here.

Although the toll will likely affect Virginia truckers more significantly, OOIDA encourages all truckers to get involved. If enacted, tolls will affect all truckers that use Interstate 81.

“OOIDA will fight against this as much as possible, but we need your help to send a message to elected officials in Virginia that their toll scheme will not be tolerated,” OOIDA Manager of Government Affairs Mike Matousek says in the letter.

On Jan. 25, OOIDA sent a letter to Gov. Ralph Northam stating that it “vehemently opposes” the toll proposal.

OOIDA explained that the idea that truckers do not pay their fair share in infrastructure funding is flat-out wrong. OOIDA’s letter points out that truckers pay federal and state taxes for a total of nearly 61 cents per gallon in Virginia, more than 8 cents per gallon than cars powered by gasoline. Furthermore, commercial vehicles pay a federal heavy-vehicle use tax of $550, apportioned registration taxes of $1,321.60 in the state, a 12 percent federal excise tax on the purchase of new trucks, trailers and tires, Unified Carrier Registration fees, and numerous other state and local taxes that apply exclusively to trucks.

The Association also compared Virginia’s proposal to similar tolling schemes in other states.

“The common theme (or goal) is to tax out-of-state trucks, thus minimizing the economic impact to residents of the state and local communities,” OOIDA President and CEO Todd Spencer states in the letter. “In other words, the Commonwealth is proposing a significant tax on those who are unable to hold elected officials accountable in the election process, likely because a majority of voters in Virginia would never support a similar tax being imposed on them.”

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